The Cat Who Smelled a Rat), journalist James Mackintosh "Qwill" Qwilleran ("the richest man "/>

THE CAT WHO WENT UP THE CREEK

Lilian Jackson Braun, Author . Putnam $23.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-399-14675-6

In Braun's 24th Cat Who... mystery (after 2001's The Cat Who Smelled a Rat), journalist James Mackintosh "Qwill" Qwilleran ("the richest man in the northeast central United States") and his two Siamese cats, Kao K'o Kung ("Koko") and Yum Yum, find themselves in the thick of another light and lively murder investigation in rural Moose County. When Lori Bamba, the new manager with her husband of the Nutcracker Inn in Black Creek, complains that the old place is haunted and making her feel gloomy, Qwill agrees to spend several nights with his cats at the converted Victorian mansion. Koko's noise gets them moved from the turret room, where the cats like to watch squirrels, to a cabin recently vacated because its occupant was murdered. Koko stumbles on a clue to the murder, while Qwill locates the source of the inn's haunting. In the meantime, Qwill's need for material for his newspaper column prompts him to help promote many local activities: the production of a Gilbert and Sullivan opera, a historical re-enactment of a lumberjack's rowdy evening, the opening of an antiques fair and mall, the launching of a book of photographs of scenic Moose County, the adoption of a boy orphaned by a suicide and another murder. As usual, the various mysteries and their ultimate solutions matter a lot less than the smalltown doings of the author's irresistible characters, both human and feline. This gentle, entertaining tale is proof once again that Braun reigns supreme as the queen of the cat cozies. (Jan. 14)

Forecast:A consistent bestseller, Braun should once again climb the charts with her winning combination of cats and crime.

Reviewed on: 11/19/2001
Release date: 01/01/2002
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